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What's the difference between a viral attack and a scan?

Answers on a postcard to Infosec organisers

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Infosec exhibitors were yesterday urged to check their systems for a virus after the performance of the security conference's network took a severe hit.

Exhibitors received an advisory from eForce, which is responsible for the networking and security of Olympia, Infosec's venue, that warned of an attack linked to a Trojan called Deloader.

According to exhibitor MIS Corporate Defence Solutions, the virus had "some effect on the performance of the eForce Ethernet network", and "not all exhibitors were affected but undoubtedly some were".

But there may be another explanation for the performance hit.

White hat hacker Rev Rat, of the London 2600 group, told us he saw the performance of the network drop off when he scanned the show for insecure wireless LANs with a tool called LANGuard.

Using this tool and Netstumbler, Rat and friends discovered 49 wireless networks - only eight of which were protected by WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy).

The use of WEP, which is itself vulnerable to attacks using cracker tools such as AirSnort, is often taken as a benchmark for surveys on wireless networks security.

2600 members at the show believe some of networks they found are test systems while at least one is a honey pot, deliberately set up to lure hackers.

But the majority of the systems he spotted were insecure, according to Rat. In the rush to set up systems for the show little attention has been paid to security, he argues.

An audit of the show for wireless network vulnerabilities last year revealed similar results. ®

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